How to prepare aspic

Aspic is a chilled jelly used to coat foods or mix with them. It can also be served plain as a first course.

To prepare and clarify aspic, skim all the fat from 4 cups of cold, well-seasoned meat, fish, or poultry broth, or use a vegetable broth. Pour 1/2 cup of the liquid into a 3-quart saucepan, sprinkle it with 2 tablespoons of unflavored gelatin, and let it stand for 5 minutes until the gelatin is soft. Add the remaining liquid and 3 egg whites. beaten until frothy.

Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. When a dense foam appears on top, remove the saucepan from the heat.

Line a sieve with a dish towel (cheesecloth is too porous) that ha: been rinsed and tightly wrung out Pour the liquid aspic through the lines sieve into a bowl. Let the aspic stand undisturbed until it is perfectly clear.

Using the aspic – To encase food in aspic, pour 1/8 of the aspic into a shallow dish and refrigerate until set (about 30 minutes). Place sliced meats, fish, poultry, or vegetables, and any garnish, on this bottom layer. Pour liquid aspic two thirds of the way up-the food should not float. Refrigerate until the second layer is set, completely cover the food with aspic, and refrigerate again.

You can also use aspic to make a mold of cold foods, such as paté or salad. Coat a decorative mold or loaf pan with a thin film of unflavored oil. Pour in 1/8 inch of liquid aspic and chill until set (about 30 minutes). Pack the food on the chilled aspic and smooth the top. With a blunt knife gently pull the food away from the container’s sides. Fill the crevices with aspic, then cover the food with aspic and chill until set. To unmold, run a knife around the edges, dip the mold into hot water for a few seconds, cover with a plate, and invert.